Hans Peter Jacobson, Director, Gera Museum of Applied arts (2008)
Ute Lehmann – Twenty years of sculpture
Born in 1960, the youngest daughter of Herta and Arno Lehmann, following in her parents' footsteps, devoted herself to ceramics. She studied from 1978 at the Linz Academy of Art and Industrial Design in Günter Praschak's ceramics class, graduating with honours in 1983. During and after her studies, she participated in various courses at the Salzburg International Summer Academy. Very soon, she abandoned the traditional ceramic art of pottery, and turned exclusively to sculpture.
In this discipline, she consistently and successfully strove for artistic independence and radical dissociation from the model of her parents. This aim was perhaps facilitated by the fact that her father, to whom she was very close as a child, had died five years before she began her studies. When she had erased all memories of pottery, her work developed through several periods comprising diversely-themed series, around the turn of the century, to attain its present maturity as a singular, highly homogeneous œuvre. She created – and is still creating, mainly in a personal variant of raku technique – figural sculptures reminiscent of primitive idols or sometimes zoomorphic forms such as insects. Elegant contours surround forms of well-rounded corporeality which, despite their radical abstraction, still radiate a vivid sensuousness. This impression is enhanced by the intense luminescence emanating as though from within them. The dynamism of their bizarre appearance is emphasised by their overall movement and their tapering extremities. The bodies are often balanced on minute single points. In her most recent works, several figures merge through complicated movements. In Musicians, human figures and their instruments mutate into strange hermaphroditic beings. These figures may in some odd way remind the viewer that he perhaps once had the impression, at a particularly intense musical performance, that musicians and instruments had united into a whole.
Today, Ute Lehmann has at her disposal the resources necessary to realise movingly and convincingly all her intentions and artistic visions, with complete freedom and without concessions to fashion, tastes or even conventions of ceramic design. In so doing, she pays tribute in her own way to her father's legacy.